Midwives play a crucial role in the health of both older mums and babies and it’s thanks to them that there are fewer pre-term births, assisted deliveries and greater satisfaction with care. They support women when they are at their most vulnerable and work tirelessly to ensure thousands of births go without a hitch in the community each year.
Unfortunately many older women still aren’t getting the care, support and advice they need during and after their pregnancy because many of our midwives are working under just too much pressure.
My son’s birth was not the birthing pool experience I’d hoped for. I was told on labour day that due to a shortage of midwives, there was no one available to fill the birthing pool on the delivery suite and stay with me. What followed was intervention I hadn’t planned on and an experience which could have left me with PTSD if I wasn’t as strong as I am.
The story below is something I’ve shared previously and comes from a North East midwife who contacted me after reading my website. While she’d like to remain anonymous, given the nature of her work, I have her permission to publish some feedback on what I wrote.
Being a midwife and a mammy, your website makes for an interesting read! I have just read your very personal blog on miscarriage and the same thing happened to me. I was upset initially, but put it down to fate in the end. Having had one child, I don’t think I was ready for another baby and I guess I just took it all in my stride at first. It was a few weeks before it really hit me and then I did have a little breakdown.
It sounds like you had an awful time. Being in my line of work, it’s a tough read seeing your perspective of your care. I hope my patients don’t judge me on my bloodstained Crocs at the end of a 12- hour shift (They probably do!). It’s definitely easy to see the condition and not the person. Sometimes you get so involved in trying to make people physically better, that you forget about their psychological health.
Mind you, you can deal with that side of things once you stop being scared that they might die without the life-saving treatment. Any way, your website really struck a chord with me and it will definitely make me more self aware at work. I really wouldn’t want to read about myself in someone’s blog if I’d made them feel as bad as you did.
I’m still smiling to myself about your dirty plimsole comment in your post. Sometimes when I’m on my third 5:30am alarm call and heading in for my third 13-hour shift, having had two previous shifts with no real breaks, I’m suffering from dehydration and borderline starvation. I’m sometimes glad that I haven’t drank anything – so I won’t need to pee. I probably won’t have time for a toilet break.
I’ve got dirty hair, scraped into a tail that even the ugliest of ponies would object to. I’m not wearing any make-up, so the rings under my eyes are like bus tyres. My scrubs aren’t ironed and I have funky armpit aroma. I look in the mirror and I think to myself, I wouldn’t trust you to look after a cactus. Yet there I am in charge of a ward of 18 mums and babies, sometimes with a member of staff down…sometimes two! I couldn’t blame a patient for thinking I’m not up to the job, because at that moment, I’m probably not. But if I don’t do it, who will?
Read more about the #savethemidwife campaign here.